‘I See A Huge Jump For Him:’ Kenny Pickett’s Personal QB Coach Sees Expects Big 2023 Season

Tony Racioppi might be a little biased. But no one was seen Kenny Pickett work as much or as hard this offseason as he has. And Racioppi believes a big 2023 season is in store.

Racioppi, Pickett’s long-term personal QB coach, hopped on 93.7 The Fan Thursday to discuss Pickett’s offseason. Heading into their sophomore year creates a natural progression for most quarterbacks. The game isn’t so fast. The playbook isn’t as dense. You’re not thrown into the fire to figure things out. And Racioppi is adamant Pickett will look like a different player come the fall, making it clear to hosts Chris Mack, Colin Dunlap, and Dorin Dickerson.

“I see a huge jump for him,” he told the show. “Because he’s gotten better. Now, he gets an entire off season of throwing with the starters and the key [backups]. Understanding the system, understanding what’s asked of him and now he’s got his routine down.”

A year ago, Pickett was playing the waiting game. Unsure which team he’d go to, where he’d be selected, what system and opportunity he’d have. This year, Pickett can attack. It’s his team, he’s the unquestioned starting quarterback, and he recently wrapped up a training session in Florida with most of the Steelers’ skill position players. Pickett admitted he struggled relaxing at home and starting training again two weeks after the season ended. The work has paid off, Pickett adding more than 10 pounds of good weight already.

Just as Pickett showed progression after the bye last season, he should make another jump in Year Two. He’ll be the starter from the spring instead of part-way through the fall with an offense truly built around him instead of one modified on the fly with plenty of bumps along the way.

“Most people don’t understand this,” Racioppi said, “but once you get to the season, the NFL quarterback room flips. It’s all about the starter. It’s all about the starter getting reps and then the other guys in that room helping the starter become the best player they could be.”

Pickett entered last year as the #3 before usurping Mason Rudolph’s spot on the depth chart and becoming the team’s immediate backup to start the season. Still, being the backup means getting only occasional reps as the Steelers went as far as could with Mitch Trubisky. It wasn’t until Week 5 that Pickett got his first start and part of a young offense trying to find its way, the results weren’t pretty. It wasn’t until after the bye Pittsburgh began to find an identity and have positive results.

This offseason, the starting core remains intact with no significant losses coupled with the additions of OG Isaac Seumalo, WR Allen Robinson, and whoever the team picks up in the draft. Everyone is a year older, a year wiser, a year better.

Including Pickett.

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